EU Announces EUR150 Million Aid To Support Myanmar Reforms

In response to the impressive reform agenda initiated by Myanmar's new civilian government, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will announce a new EUR 150 million ($200 million) assistance package to support democratic reforms and inclusive development when he visits the South Asian country on February 12-14.

Piebalgs will be the first EU Commissioner to meet the country's President Thein Sein and will also hold talks with senior government Ministers and Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the European Commission said on Thursday. The Commissioner will travel to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon to hold a series of meetings, as well as visiting an EU-funded health clinic.

Ministers from EU Member-States and the High Representative have welcomed Myanmar's remarkable reform process. The visit will give an insight into progress on the ground, in order to further encourage reform and to gauge how the EU can continue to support the change process going forward, the statement said.

Piebalgs will also speak at the Development Policy Options Conference, an event co-funded by the EU to explore how to promote inclusive human development and growth.

Prior to his departure, Piebalgs said: "The European Union welcomes the unprecedented developments taking place in the country on core values of the EU - democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The momentum of change in Myanmar is impressive and the EU recognizes the need to do all it can to support the country at this time. More dialogue will help better policies to emerge, more money for development cooperation will promote economic and social development and help reduce poverty," he added.

The additional EUR 150 million assistance for 2012-2013 will initially be devoted to health, education, agriculture and to help displaced people in ethnic areas, with further areas to be explored in line with developments.

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